I wanted to pause our Lenten season to celebrate this holy man who dropped everything to follow a radical man. Today is the feast of the chair of St. Peter the Apostle. One of my favorite Gospel readings is all about him and his name change (you can read about it here). St. Peter is the man who would go from being a local fisherman to the first man to lead the Church after Jesus' Ascension. He was our first Pope. St. Peter was willing to abandon everything he had ever known, give up the society he had been raised in, and even walk on water to be closer to God's Son. He would eventually die for Christ's Church.
Saints have two main purposes in the Church. First, they pray for us in Heaven. Secondly, their lives on earth are a model and inspiration for us to follow and strive to do better. Peter's life teaches us three primary thing about being a follower of Christ.
1.) You don't have to be perfect to follow Christ
We are going to be hearing this story about a month, but Peter is the Apostle who denies Jesus three times before He is crucified. Jesus knew that Peter would make mistakes but He still loved Peter and chose him to be the rock of the Church. Peter's story is reminder that Jesus does not ask for perfection, but for a willingness to try to do better again and again.
2.) No prior education required
St. Peter was a fisherman before he became one of the twelve. It is unlikely that he knew how read or write well. He was not an expert on the Jewish religion. None of that mattered to Christ. All Jesus wanted was someone who was willing to listen, ask questions, and learn. We don't need to be experts about our faith. We don't need a degree in theology or to deep-dive into St. Augustine. We just need to be open to God's Word through God's Son.
3.) We will be changed for the better
After inviting Jesus into our lives and learning from Him, we are going to be changed. We will no longer be of this world, but citizens of a Heavenly Kingdom. We will go from men and women afraid to step out into uncertain waters to those who walk fearlessly on the waves, keeping our eyes fixed on Christ rather than the turbulence below us.
St. Peter the Apostle, pray for us, that we may be more like you and follow Jesus out onto the water.
Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Carnival, whatever you call it, this rowdy, festive day (or season) marks the last hoorah before we begin a somber season of self and soul-improvement. I've mentioned before that I attended a Catholic grade school. One of the perks of said school was that we had a Mardi Gras party every year! Student were encouraged to dress up, we binged on soda, chips, and King-cake, and got to dance and just enjoy an easy afternoon before the entire school was decked out in purple.
If you haven't already made plans for tonight, I want to encourage you to celebrate Mardi Gras in some way. We see this day (with religious origins) perverted into a beads contest in New Orleans and binge opportunity for many at the bars. Consider digging into some Mardi Gras traditions or making your own so that you and your children can embrace their religious culture, away from what popular culture has turned it into.
Ideas for Celebrating Mardi Gras
1.) Brinner (Breakfast-for-Dinner)
Pancakes are a traditional Fat Tuesday meal. Served with a side of bacon and maybe a mimosa or Bloody Mary, you can enjoy lots of what you'll be giving up starting tomorrow! You jazz up your pancakes with chocolate chips, Nutella, or whatever else you enjoy. Have a fun brinner with your family and enjoy the night.
2.) Crank up the music
Have an at-home parade with your littles, let them dress up as wild and crazy as possible in honor of Carnival tradition. Just you and your partner? Dress up and make it a nice night (or down and just snuggle up). Either way, turn on some music and have some fun before entering a somber holy season.
3.) Kings and Queens
Traditionally, the cake would have two little tokens in it that would be baked into the men's cake and women's cake that would result in a crowned king and queen of the party. If you're cooking for a crowd, this would be more a of competition with a prize of sorts. Just cooking for two? King-cake has its own special recipe worth trying for a fun dessert.
4.) Beads, Decor, Etc.
Mardi Gras is a bright, loud, colorful holiday. If you have the time and a little bit of spare change, why not decorate and brighten up your night. You could also just grab some green, purple, and gold sprinkles to add to your pancakes or king cake. Regardless, let Fat Tuesday be a bright and exciting day that celebrates life!
My husband and I have celebrated Mardi Gras since we were dating. One of my favorite memories of him is coming home from a really exhausting day to find him cooking pancakes at my house, wearing cheap plastic beads. I knew I had something special when he was willing to participate in a holiday-not-holiday because I had casually mentioned it.
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